Just got back from 2 days in Hiroshima and Mito with Dale Russ (fiddle), Jay Gregg (guitar/fiddle), me (bodhran, songs) and guest Take-san (bodhran). We had a great time (I think - they are still away with more gigs in Tokyo) and met lots of Japanese Irish-musicians. Dale comes over from Seattle once a year to play here and has many fans and workshop students. Thanks to Take for organizing it and playing together. We did Irish music mainly - Dale loves Morning Dew, my favorite of his is The Gold Ring - with some Irish and English songs/Scottish mouth music in between: Lake of Ponchartraine, Mary and the Soldier, Sally Free and Easy, Hebridean/Irish Mouth Musics, Green Fields of Canada, Rattling Bog. And Jay does a guitar solo of (?).
At Molly Malone's in Hiroshima it was the 5th Anniversary Party. Fantastic.(So we also had to sing Molly Malone). A huge shamrock cake in shades of the tricolor with candles and happy birthday singing. Jimu the owner made a speech in Japanese which Jay translated (irreverently), and Kayo and Mark who run the bar, and all staff, were all dressed in party regalia including commemorative red t-shirts. There were "5"-related quiz questions to win many bottles and magnetic Jamesons dartboards (which sucked my earrings to the right). There were bands in both rooms: we were in the main bar and Welshman Paul Williams and Chris (from USA) were in the huge art-deco party room with dance floor. After our gig where Taiko-chan Irish-danced as well, and a session by local musicians, Paul and Chris carried on, leading a singalong in the main bar until the early hours.
On to the tiny Kells Bar in Mito where the owner Yamaguchi-san hosted a small audience of locals, half of them musicians, and Andy Stark and his wife came from the warrior Celt in Tokyo - they had apparently had Okinawan session in their bar the night before. He told me an Oxfordshire couple (morris dancers?) visit his pub every year on holiday and sing duets there too. After the 'concert' at Kells, a session went on for as long again: Kaoli sang Sally Gardens and The Last Rose of Summer unaccompanied, and there were fiddles, a mandolin and a concertina and accordion player, and nice spoons! Two Japanese Irish bands, Poitin and Wild Geese, there lead a monthly session. I will check my notes for names and session details and update this later. Click here for photos